Summary: Part 2 of an 8-part series on Divine Providence. This part examines the requirements of God's original plan.
This is Part 2 of an 8-part series, which was originally developed for a 13-week adult class, with some of the parts taking more or less than a 45-minute class period. I am starting to post the series on SermonCentral, and plan to post the remaining parts over the next few days as time permits.
I developed a set of slides on PowerPoint for use with the series and will be happy to share the PowerPoint files. The prompts reminding me to advance slides and activate animations are embedded in the sermon below. If you want to request the slides send me an Email at firstname.lastname@example.org specifying what part(s) of the series you are requesting. Be sure to include the word “slides” in the subject line of your message; otherwise I am likely to miss it. I would find it interesting to know the location and a few words about your personal ministry if you will include it in your message. Allow several days for me to respond.
Outline of the series:
I. Introduction to the series
II. God’s Plan from the Beginning
III. God’s Plan Now and Our Problem with It
IV. Justice vs Mercy and the Plan of Salvation
V. The Only Way to Eradicate Sin
VI. Providence – What God Provides in Earthly Life
VII. Providence and Civil Governments
VIII. Providence, Miracles and Phenomena
II. God’s Plan From the Beginning
*Click for Slide - Outline of the series
Explain the 8 parts of the series and where we are in it today (click to step through the animations)
Read Genesis 1:26-28, 2:15-22, 3:1-10,11-19
• When God created the man and placed him in a prepared lovely garden, it was all good, except for one thing. “It was not good that man should not be alone.”
So God made the woman.
• Requirements were few and easy to understand.
1) Be fruitful and multiply
2) Rule over the animals
3) Tend the garden (no weeds)
4) Don’t eat fruit from one tree
It was easy to understanding God’s requirements
• The man and the woman were not subjected to advanced studies in theology or hermeneutic variants on doctrine, didn’t have to take courses in ecclesiastical history, or refer to decisions coming down from ecumenical councils (there were none).
Just God’s word.
*Advance to slide with headings only
*Click for each animation as needed
The plan was that the man and woman love and trust him, and show it:
KNOW his requirements (they knew all they needed to)
CHOOSE RIGHT (RIGHT activates a second after CHOOSE)
OBEY his instructions
ENJOY his blessings as they lived, UNDYING in the beautiful garden.
As far as we can see in Genesis 2-3, God’s plan was for the man and woman to live in obedient bliss eternally along with the human family they were to have.
Gen 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”
Several observations are appropriate in the light of what happened in the garden, and what God has revealed since the fall:
• We cannot know - nor can we ever discover - how long the man and the woman lived in the state of bliss before Eve succumbed to the serpent’s lies. Reading the narrative tends to suggest that it was very soon - perhaps a few days. But it cannot be known whether Satan bided his time for days, months, years, or even decades - or much longer - before he began his overture that would wreck God’s creation by fouling his crowning act of creating man.
• Nor do we have any record of anything that happened in the garden except the briefly described relevant events while they lived there. A great deal may have transpired that is unrevealed and unrelated to God’s providence for their progeny.
• I mention their time in the garden before sin entered only because their time in the garden of paradise is the type - or parallel - of the future and eternal state of the righteous. We have very little concrete descriptions of what will be going on in heaven, apart from the praise, worship, and singing that are around the throne in the revelation given to John on Patmos Island, the commission of Isaiah to prophecy in the opening verses of Isaiah 6, and perhaps a few other glimpses.
Paul was not even permitted to describe what he saw in the “third heaven.”
• While the fall was foreknown, sin and dying weren’t God’s plan, but man’s deviation from the plan.
I will be a hard sell on the idea that it was God’s plan for Adam and Eve to sin. Even though he knew sin would happen, he didn’t lay a trap intending to cause them to sin. He intended for them to obey him. He made every necessary provision for Adam and Eve to succeed, including the choice to turn away from temptation.